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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 19, 2008 3:10 PM. The previous post in this blog was With or without duct tape. The next post in this blog is Thick and rich. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Drove my Chevy to the levy

I remember that for a while there, the legal drinking age in New Jersey was 18. Indeed, I turned 18 just two weeks after they lowered it from 21 to 18 in that state. Before that, we Jersey teens had to head over to the Big Apple, where the age was 18 and phony ID was easy to pass.

Anyway, these memories returned today after I read this.

Comments (23)

So, University Presidents believe what...that lowering the drinking age will reduce binge drinking by those 18-20? Or raising the drinking age will stop binge drinking by those 18-20?

I would urge University Presidents concerned about underage drinking to start enforcing the law against it on their campuses.

The point is that college students who drink in bars are less likely to binge-drink than those who sequester themselves in dorm rooms of off-campus houses with illegally obtained bottles of spirits. A bartender will cut you off, but your friends probably won't. I know the amount of really unhealthy drinking dropped drastically at my college as soon as we turned 21 and liquor consumption became a socially sanctioned public activity. The necessity for secrecy leads to dangerous behavior.

Of course, it could just be that we all saw adulthood approaching, got smart and stopped hitting the bottle so hard.

While this makes sense for colleges, the problem is that not everyone in the US goes to college. So, if you don't, you are going to the bars and driving home. Whereas, most of the time at most colleges, people don't drive to bars. (I'm speaking to my college experience)

When I turned 18, that was the drinking age in Wisconsin. I would have drank like a fish during my college years even if the legal age wasn't 18. That's the norm.

I don't believe the problems with alcohol abuse in our country has anything to do with where we set the legal drinking age.

... what, you didn't have cousins?..... bloody hell, man.....

This would be such a big mistake on so many fronts it is hard to know where to begin, so I won't. The University administrators are obviously looking for a way to remove the responsibility of properly policing the campus by simply making it "OK". I can think of no other rational reasoning here.

I am ashamed of the persons sponsoring efforts to change the law, and saddened they are the ones we have chosen to lead our universities.

Another subject on which mainstream America, represented so eloquently by John Fairplay above, has its head wedged. Western European countries (once again) offer the sensible model. No age-based regulation of drinking as such, but stiff enforcement of laws against drunkenness, and draconian laws against driving while impaired. Guess what? It works.

Allen, you always have well thought out posts, but I would take issue with your response here. First of all, I think that you have to really examine who this coming from and why. Next, please remember there were over 1 & 1/2 million DUII arrests by U.S. police last year (MADD web site), so the laws are being enforced. Stiff enforcement however requires the ability to put the proper amount of resources forward when a new problem presents itself.

Bottom line is if 18 year olds are drinking legally, then they are drinking with younger people. The probability of alcohol winding up in the mouths of those under 18 increases along with underage DUIIs on the road. There is a reason (other then corporate greed believe it or not) that insurance costs are higher for younger drivers. They show much less responsibility behind the wheel. And they will show much less responsibility when under the influence. If it will make people feel better then by all means raise the age to go to war to 21, but leave the drinking age as it is.

Lowering the drinking age to 18 to get away from 'underage drinking' is akin to raising the legal drunk blood alcohol limit to 1.0 or 1.5, which would cut down on the number of drunken driving arrests. A dumb solution in search of a problem.

Next, please remember there were over 1 & 1/2 million DUII arrests by U.S. police last year (MADD web site), so the laws are being enforced.

Those "arrests" mean nothing if those same people are driving drunk again and again. There have been reports on local news about people in this state that have as many as THIRTEEN DUII convictions and still have their friggin license!

I think there should be a "three strikes and you're out for DUII. And the "out" means prison. Im not sure how long the sentence should be, but I think mandatory prison would stop this crap.
The only major punishment people have is a fine and losing their car. Its not working.

"I don't believe the problems with alcohol abuse in our country has anything to do with where we set the legal drinking age."

Gret logic, how about we remove the drunk driving laws and that will decrease also?

I think the college professor just want kids to do their binge drinking off campus which is another great example of taking responsibility.

Someone needs to explain to me why we allow kids to drive before we teach them to drink responsibly.

And why we insist that they leave home before they're allowed to drink.

Shouldn't we have a law that encourages parents to teach their kids to drink responsibility?

We need more vocations to the priesthood and religious life and ..... Designated Drivers! Regardless of the age limits, those with the itch will drink or smoke or whatever. Keep them from behind the wheel.

hmmm...think I could get 501(c)3 status for The Harry Mac National Designated Drivers Cooperative?

I lived in Tucson AZ when the drinking age was 19 in that state, and there was no problems with it. It was only pressure from the Feds--who threatened to cut off highway funds--that forced Arizona to raise it to 21. I was already legal (19) so I was "grandfathered" in...and the non-party continued (I didn't even drink).

People who oppose this don't understand kids. Tell them not to do something and they want to do it more. Period. They need to create an identity for themselves, and they do it by disobeying the rules.

That's why kids who are raised in strict families go go wild later. It's why kids think it's cool to drink before they're 21.

Allen is right. Go to Europe sometime. You'll see some teenagers drinking in bars, but not nearly as many as you'd expect because kids don't think it's cool to get drunk.

While I think the colleges just want to protect their own skins a national debate on the drinking age is a good idea. Here's a few topics for discussion.

-At one point the conventional wisdom said 21 was when we are fully developed but medical knowledge keeps advancing and changing. So, does alcohol affect mental/physical development and if it does (my opinion is it does) at what age is that no longer an issue? 18? 20? 25?

-Quite a few countries allow young people to drink. If they do this and have few drinking/driving issues, how? I'm sure strictly enforced duii laws have something to do with this. Can our culture here in the US duplicate what other countries do when it comes to drinking?

-If our drinking age is 21 and kids in border states can easily cross the border to drink. Do we want them drinking in the local watering hole or going into Mexico to get plastered? Otherwise, should control be taken back from the feds and put back on the states?

-If the drinking age is at 21 do we make an exception for military personnel?

-Should we standardized at what age people become an adult and get all the rights that go along with it? What age should that be and at what age are our parents no longer legally responsible for our acts?

Drove my Chevy to the levy



Ricky, it's when the BATF puts revenue stamps on the bootleg booze and seizes its share in kind. A tax expert's insider thing.

Ricky, it's when the BATF puts revenue stamps on the bootleg booze and seizes its share in kind.

Don't quit your day job, Allan...

...unless it's helping McDonald write jokes.

My question is, why 21? If decreasing DUIIs is the objective, seems the legal drinking age should be increased, or alcohol should be outlawed all together.

If, on the other hand, we agree that prohibition was a bad idea, it seems to me that 21 is an arbitrary number. More than that, given cultural norms (college and military service at 18), 21 strikes me as a relatively absurd.

Can anybody produce real evidence that drinking at 18 is significantly worse than drinking at 21? I sure can't find it.

By "worse," I meant "worse for you."

The legal drinking age was changed to 21 at the end of the Vietnam War. It was argued, correctly, that it made no sense to consider someone who could enter into contracts, go to war, and who had all the other privliges and responsibilites of an adult, to be denied the ability to legally consume alcohol.

Unfortunately, some in government are consumed with the desire to micromanage the lives of those lesser beings who do not have a view of the Washington Monument. In this case it was Elizabeth Dole, who was Transportation Secretary under President Reagan. She decided to withhold highway funding to States who didn't change their legal drinking age to 21.

This practice of injecting themselves into areas where they have no Constitutional juristiction by withholding funds, is something that has plagued us since Nixon instituted "revenue sharing" back in the 1970's.

The Feds collect taxes in excess of what is required for Federal projects and then, after skimming off some money for pet projects, returning the funds to the States with strings attached.

Of all Nixon's supposed 'crimes' this one is perhaps the most destructive. But while some like to beat Nixon up for his practices, they show no inclination to end any of them.

The only difference is that these days it is the Democrats who have become the "big Government" partisans who know the best for all of us.

Change the drinking age back to 18 to align it with all the other privlidges and responsibilites of adulthood, then treat them accordingly.

Yean, I know. Competely unrealistic.

Proofreading. I meant, of course, that the drinking age was changed to 18 near the end of the Vietnam War


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